Tag Archives: Statism

Liberalism Ain’t What It Used To Be. Don’t Let Democrats Hide Behind This Word.

At the root of the word “Liberal” is the Latin “Liber” which means, “Free Man.”  It’s no coincidence that this is also at the root of the word liberty and libertarian.

Many libertarians call themselves classic liberals, because liberal and libertarian are, or at least should be and used to be, essentially synonymous.liberalism-definition-then-and-now[1]

However, modern-day Democrats have hijacked this word to describe themselves, and I suspect that there are a number of reasons why. Let’s analyze a few.

Evolution

Since liberal started out as someone described as a free man, it stands to reason that free men would have been about advancing mankind in general through the benefits of free thought. It is true that Democrats of the modern era have been quicker to embrace things like gay marriage rights, marijuana legalization, and other social liberties. Since they are often promoting freedom on such social issues, unlike many of their Christian-conservative counterparts, it is fair to call their positions there liberal. So the word just evolved to be synonymous with Democrats despite the fact it’s meaning is often incongruent with their beliefs.

But liberal should mean that you are accepting of all beliefs, even of those contradictory to your own. Ask a Democrat how they feel about libertarians, Fox News, or anyone right of center, and they are often condescending and apoplectic.tumblr_m4t6dxnd5a1r47rkpo1_500[1]

To some extent, you are what you believe yourself to be, and I hate when people insultingly call a person who identifies as a Republican a RINO, or refer to me as a “so-called” libertarian because I believe in some amount of government. But nonetheless, for people who identify as liberals, they’re rarely actually being liberal in their beliefs.

Deceit

I would like to believe people are honest for the most part, but many people who in certain circles admit to being statist, socialist, or communist (I’ll use the word statist to describe all three for the sake of simplicity going forward), publicly call themselves a liberal.

Maybe they simply don’t know any better, but statism of any kind is certainly the polar opposite of liberal. But the cold war solidified the idea in America that statism is a very bad thing. So when someone who is a statist admits to it, it’s a sure-fire way to ensure you don’t get votes.

So instead, they use the much friendlier sounding “liberal” so as not to scare independent voters away who might not be too keen on casting their vote for a statist.Statism-c-c[1]

While it’s a shady tactic, if you care about winning more than your integrity, it’s not much of a stretch to do this. However, if your ideas are so great, shouldn’t you be proud of them and stand behind them 100%?

I’m proud to be a libertarian, and never claim to be anything different. It’s a shame these statists masquerading as liberals don’t have the same honest conviction.

Ignorance

To be a statist, you essentially have to believe that government knows better than you, in regards to important matters. Intelligent people generally just want to be left alone to sink or swim however they see fit, but ignorant people think that they can’t survive without a government safety net wherever they go. Since Democrats, who are largely statist in their views call themselves liberals, it stands to reason someone not intelligent enough to manage their own affairs, isn’t intelligent enough to understand the difference between a statist and a liberal.

So having little understanding of the etymology of “liberal,” they call themselves one simply by association.

If I go back to the deceit aspect for a moment, whether it be honest deceit through ignorance, or willful deceit by a dishonest statist politician trying to win a vote, it shouldn’t matter. To those of use libertarians and Republicans who form the opposition, we shouldn’t assist them in this charade.

If you are someone who loves liberty as I do, I implore you not to allow these people to call themselves liberals without calling them on it. If they are championing a non-rights-defending role of government, tell them that’s not a liberal position, that’s a statist one.No_Socialism[1]

If you are using social media, and referring to a statist-minded person, don’t ever call them liberal, call them the statist that they are. If they complain, rightly point out that they just championed a state-run position, therefore they are being statist, not liberal, and that you’re just being honest. Remember, it’s not an insult, and you’re not being rude or condescending doing so, you are truly being accurate.

If they don’t like being called statists, they shouldn’t behave like statists. If they firmly believe in their statist views, then tell them to embrace what they are and be honest about it. But for the love of liberty, stop helping them perpetuate the lie.

Advertisements

What Constitutes A Fair Share?

As the president’s State Of The Union speech came and went, we were again reminded how he feels that everyone should get their “fair share;” he brought it up twice.

I couldn’t agree with him more; each person does deserve their fair share. But here’s the rub, he isn’t actually promoting policies that would garner us citizens our fair share.

Your fair share consists of two things: that which you have earned and that which you are entitled to.

What you have earned is simple enough, you work forty hours, you make $20 an hour, you’ve earned $800 of your employer’s revenue stream that week.

If you want more, you must either negotiate for more, find an employer willing to pay more, or start your own company and make more, but you agreed to $20 an hour when you were hired, so that’s all you can rightfully lay claim to.

What you’re entitled to however, is any amount people have voluntarily directed towards you, or which you are owed; a somewhat more complex amount to explain, as there are many possible examples.1151px-Wounded_Warrior_Project_logo.svg[1]

If you’re a soldier who has lost a leg in battle for instance, and you were to contact the Wounded Warrior Project for help, you would be entitled to your fair share of what the WWP receives in donations, since helping soldiers like you is their raison d’etre.

If you own stock in a company that pays dividends, you’re fair share are the dividends your shares in that company earned.

But one example I think is most egregiously violated by government would be if a relative gives you what they earned or inherited, either through death or good will. It was their property, and they wanted you to have it. Yet Uncle Sam, via death taxes, feels that they are entitled to a portion, which is upsetting since this money was already taxed when your benefactor earned it.

So what isn’t your fair share? Despite Obama’s best efforts to convince us otherwise, what someone else has earned or is otherwise entitled to. That is their fair share, not yours, and you have no reasonable claim to it.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

When Obama suggests people aren’t getting their fair share, he’s actually proposing legislation to equalize shares. He wishes to close the gap between the richest and the poorest under the guise of compassion. While this is a noble goal, so long as people are inherently different in intellect, skill, luck, and motivation; this type of equality can never fairly exist.

Statists feel that definitions of “fair” and “equal” are synonymous. But equal implies a like amount, fair applies an amount that you can fairly lay claim to. So why does Obama use the word fair instead of equal?

As I pointed out in my last post, tests with Capuchin monkeys showed that humans aren’t the only animal with the innate understanding of a fair share.

These monkeys were trained to give the researcher a piece of granite. In return for this bit of “work,” they were given their “pay;” either a cucumber, or a grape. The grapes being significantly more preferable than the cucumbers to the monkeys, were effectively the “greater” share for purposes of the experiment.

As you can see, when the monkey’s weren’t given their “fair share,” they reacted as anyone else would act—they were furious. They did equal work, but didn’t get equal pay.

What Obama’s doing by using the term fair share, is appealing to that sense of fairness instilled in our genetic code. But he’s doing so behind a fallacious argument.

If I were to walk up to you, put a gun to your head, and demand you give your money to the person next to you, whether they are poorer or not, it’s a felonious crime. Yet somehow, when we vote for government officials to do that exact same thing (the IRS is armed after all), it’s miraculously, and rather contrarily, deemed compassionate.Statism-c-c[1]

There is no feasible argument one can make to explain away this blatant hypocrisy by statist-minded politicians and their supporters—ideology has tainted their sense of reason here.

I don’t profess to know what is in Barack Obama’s mind. Maybe he feels that “equal” and “fair” are synonymous, and therefore isn’t purposefully being misleading.

While the experimenters tested the monkeys for their concept of fairness, they didn’t test to see if the monkeys have statist instincts. But, do you believe that the monkeys, if given two grapes for their work, would just give one of the grapes to a random third “Welfare-monkey,” who could have done some work, but chose not to? I doubt it.

But wouldn’t giving money to the needy help them and therefore make society better as a whole? That’s the argument being made.

We all know that it takes money to make money. You give Warren Buffett $100,000, he will very likely double it in seven years or less. You give a career welfare earner the same amount, you will likely find that they’ve spent it on frivolous items that will eventually lead to them no longer having $100, nevertheless $100,000.

Don’t believe me? In 2010, researchers from Vanderbilt published a study showing that people who won between $50,000 to $150,000 were far more likely to file for bankruptcy than those who won lesser amounts, such as $10,000 or less.

What does this show? Even if you take money from earners and give it to the non-earners, that money will eventually just find its way back to the earners, because…they are earners.

Removing those who are truly disabled for purposes of this discussion, the only way to help the non-earners of society is to force them into a sink or swim situation where they are forced to either be productive or face societal banishment, shaming, isolation, and possibly death. Much like electricity and water, people will choose the path of least resistance. Give them something they didn’t earn, and they often won’t bother to earn for themselves.

Income redistribution is not fair, it does not advance our species, nor is it logical. So I am all for fair share, I just wish Obama and his supporters understand the term better.

 

The Left vs The Right: Who Has The Moral High Ground?

Democrats often wish to portray Republicans and libertarians as immoral beings who are greedy and don’t want to help the little guy.

So far, it has been an effective tactic for getting votes. We’ve got plenty of historical evidence to show that statism doesn’t actually work, yet people who know very little about the historical effects of statism keep voting for more government on the principle of morality. But is it the more morally sound method?

Morality is a man-made concept where we behave in such a way as to either not do harm to others, or to help those who are in need. Even if you’re not religious, morality is an evolutionary trait social beings like humans use to advance our species—a subject Michael Shermer elaborates on quite well in this article.

Michael Shermer
Michael Shermer

So then the question begs, does capitalism or statism jive better with the concept of morality?

I’ve mentioned on several previous posts that there are four officially socialist nations in this world. North Korea, China, Cuba, and Laos. Two other former socialist nations worth mentioning—the USSR, and Nazi Germany. Is there anyone who honestly wishes to argue that those nations were either:

A) More moral than the United States

or

B) Had a citizenry whose poor had a better quality of life than the poor of the United States.

I don’t believe any honest debate can say that America is the less moral nation, but what about the idea of a happy medium? Is some socialism good?

I would argue socialism is like smoking, there’s a decent amount you may get away with without killing the user, but the safest amount is the least amount. That’s the libertarian opinion, but do the facts support it?Statism-c-c[1]

We know that all animals instinctively work to advance their species, it’s the underpinnings of evolution. Organisms on this planet have been innately competing with one another to become the dominant species since the day single-celled organisms first sprung into life.

You’ll notice I said competing—competition is the foundation for capitalism, not socialism. Therefore, I feel I can logically conclude that capitalism is congruent with the natural behavior of all living organisms. But that doesn’t necessarily make it more moral, does it?

All life competes with other life for food and resources. In doing so, through the process of natural selection, life as a whole is advanced. Without this, we would still be just single-celled organisms floating around in a primordial soup. Forcing inferior organisms to either improve, or die trying, advances life far greater than nursing a losing battle. While I don’t believe asking for help is immoral, demanding help at the point of a gun sure is.

If we look at communist era Russian cars, have you noticed there is no real collector’s market for them? There are plenty of 100-year-old model T’s puttering around the globe, the market for them is still quite strong. But look around for a communist era Russian car, and you’ll be hard pressed to find one. They were horrid and hateful machines that no one wants.

Even when America allowed the socialist made Yugo to invade our shores, it was clear that these things were racking up more miles on the back of a tow-truck than they were under their own power.9780809098910_custom-815d71859a4a1992cb9174e6290928df7b86bac7-s99-c85[1]

If we were under socialist rule, we’d still be driving them, or something similar, but free markets and competition brought us better cars at a lower price, and the Yugo, along with communist Yugoslavia took their rightful place in the annals of history as failed experiments.

Many Democrats accept this, and claim they are pro-capitalism, but still believe we should have more government regulation and assistance for the underprivileged. They argue that social programs help the poor and needy, something they feel rich people wouldn’t do voluntarily.

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are two of the richest men in America, and they voluntarily give billions away to charitable causes every year. Even old stalwarts like Andrew Carnegie, someone famous for being a monopolous and ruthless businessman, gave away most of his money in the end.

Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie

There is plenty of evidence to show that people will give to charities, rich and poor alike, so long as they feel the money will go to a good cause, will be appreciated, or will benefit mankind in general. It’s effectively a capitalist charity system where the best and most worthwhile charities garner the greatest contributions, and the ones that are not so deserving rightfully lose out.

The part where Democrats go wrong is that they fail to understand that government is not a charitable organization, it is an agent of force. You cannot argue that putting a gun to someone’s head, and forcing them to give to a cause they do not support is moral. If the cause needs support, and is worthy of the assistance it asks for, it will gain support on its merits, not because glad-handing politicians decided it was worthy.

What Democrats are pushing for when asking for more government isn’t moral, it’s lazy and selfish. They have their causes that they wish to support, but instead of making a case in the marketplace of ideas as to why the rest of us should support it, they try to pass laws to force us to do so whether we like it or not. Does that really sound moral to you?

Penn Jillette
Penn Jillette

The argument that if they don’t, people won’t help has a lesson in there that they routinely fail to see. People don’t support it, because it’s often not a good idea. Just because someone’s intentions are well-meaning, doesn’t mean they are right.

I might want to help the doctor saving the life of a loved one, but any help I attempt to provide in an operating room would likely be less than helpful at best. I don’t know what I’m doing, and can help the most by staying out of the way, something government officials should understand, but the desire to do something always seems to overwhelm them.

Famous examples like Solyndra, where we invested $500 million taxpayer dollars with little knowledge of the solar industry, and lost it all. Or with General Motors, where we invested $49.5 billion that GM didn’t even want, only to lose $10.5 billion when all General Motors needed to do, according to ousted CEO Rick Wagoner, was to file bankruptcy, which they ended up doing anyway.

Rick Wagoner
Rick Wagoner

Both instances, Obama and his administration meant well, just as I would in the aforementioned operating room, but good intentions still yielded bad results.

The problem for many Republicans is that they are quick to paint Democrats as evil, or immoral in response to the Democratic attacks. Ultimately, they’re often just wrong, and we’d be smart to focus our message on the factual inaccuracies Democrats use to justify their agenda.

Name calling has never advanced society, and it never gives you the moral high-ground. Republicans and Libertarians alike, should acknowledge the altruistic intent of every Democrat-proposed item on their agenda, but then break down why they are bad ideas with logic and reason. People will respond to this better than bickering and insults.

Our government is designed to be a guarantor of rights, which it must do at the point of a gun. That is a morally sound thing to do when using an agent of force.

But deploying the might of government into free markets, free will, and the individual pursuit of happiness, is oppression. It isn’t oppression like we saw in the 1700’s under monarchies, or into the 1800’s with slavery, but it’s still forcing people to be subservient against their will. Much like government, oppression of any kind, should be minimized as much as reasonably possible and should never be portrayed as moral.

The fact is, both parties mean well, and should be portrayed as moral. We simply disagree on the methodology and implementation of how to best advance our nation. We on the right feel freedom accomplishes this best, Democrats believe government regulation does. Since the historical evidence is on the libertarian side of the argument, I will always contend we are effectively the most moral.